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Is fat the sixth taste primary? Evidence and implications

Keast, Russell S.J. and Costanzo, Andrew 2015, Is fat the sixth taste primary? Evidence and implications, Flavour, vol. 4, no. 5, pp. 1-7, doi: 10.1186/2044-7248-4-5.

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Title Is fat the sixth taste primary? Evidence and implications
Author(s) Keast, Russell S.J.ORCID iD for Keast, Russell S.J. orcid.org/0000-0003-2147-7687
Costanzo, Andrew
Journal name Flavour
Volume number 4
Issue number 5
Start page 1
End page 7
Total pages 7
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2015
ISSN 2044-7248
Summary Taste is the chemical sense responsible for the detection of non-volatile chemicals in potential foods. For fat to be considered as one of the taste primaries in humans, certain criteria must be met including: class of affective stimuli; receptors specific for the class of stimuli on taste bud cells (TBC); afferent fibers from TBC to taste processing regions of the brain; perception independent of other taste qualities; and downstream physiological effects. The breakdown products of the macronutrients carbohydrates (sugars) and protein (amino acids) are responsible for activation of sweet and umami tastes respectively. Following the same logic the breakdown products of fat being fatty acids are the likely class of stimuli for fat taste. Indeed, psychophysical studies have confirmed fatty acids of varying chain length and saturation are orally detectable by humans. The most likely fatty acid receptor candidates located on TBC are CD36, G protein-coupled receptor 120. Once the receptors are activated by fatty acids a series of transduction events occurs causing the release of neurotransmitters towards afferent fibers signalling the brain. Whether fatty acids elicit any direct perception independent of other taste qualities is still open to debate with only poorly defined perceptions for fatty acids reported. Others suggest that the fatty acid taste component is at detection threshold only and any perceptions are associated with either aroma or chemesthesis. It has also been established that oral exposure to fat via sham feeding stimulates increases blood triacylglycerol concentrations in humans. Therefore, overall, with the exception of an independent perception, there is consistent emerging evidence that fat is the sixth taste primary. The implications of fatty acid taste go further into health and obesity research with the gustatory detection of fats and their contributions to energy and fat intake receiving increasing attention. There appears to be a coordinated bodily response to fatty acids throughout the alimentary canal; those who are insensitive orally are also insensitive in the gastrointestinal tract and overconsume fatty food and energy. The likely mechanism linking fatty acid taste insensitivity with overweight and obesity is development of satiety after consumption of fatty foods.
Notes Reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/2044-7248-4-5
Field of Research 090899 Food Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920411 Nutrition
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30069796

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.